Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Western Counties Youth Championships, 3-5 May 2014

The Western Counties Youth Championships, held in Plymouth over the Bank Holiday weekend, saw Exeter swimmers testing themselves against the very best in the region, including a reigning world record holder and Olympic gold medalist, and the new national record holder for men’s 50m freestyle. With several national age-group champions also competing, the fight for medals was always going to be tough, and qualifying for finals was an extremely impressive achievement in its own right.

Exeter City Swimming Club produced two winners. Jack Pearson (16) came back from a muscle injury the previous day to dominate the men’s 400m individual medley, while Tom Downs (15) finished strongly to snatch first place in the 200m butterfly, securing a national qualifying time in the process. These are two of the most energy-sapping events in the programme, making their victories all the more impressive. Jack also showed his stamina to finish 3rd in the 400m freestyle, while Tom featured regularly throughout the weekend with 2nd in 100m fly, two 4th place finishes (50m fly, 50m back), 5th in 400m IM, and 8th in 200m free and 400m free.

Other multiple finalists included James Wamsley (15), whose best finish of 3rd in 50m breaststroke was supported by 4th in 100m and 200m breast, and 10th in 200m IM. Freddie Fearnley (15) came 7th in 100m free and 8th in 50m backstroke; Liam White (15) took two 9th places finishes (200m back and 50m free); Joe Crispin (16) finished 4th in 200m fly and 7th in 100m fly; and Dominic Wooldridge, swimming in the 17 and over category, came 5th in 400m free, 7th in 200m free, and 8th in 400m IM.

Four other swimmers reached finals, with Millie Price (15) 6th in 100m breast, Georgia Cotterill (15) 9th in 50m fly, Vicky Bishop (16) 10th in 50m back, and Warren Barrett (17 and over) 8th in 50m fly.

Head Coach Jo John said: ‘This is always a difficult event for swimmers of this age as it comes immediately at the point of a defining moment in their lives with key exams which will determine their future.  I was very pleased by the performances and commitment from the swimmers and continue to be excited by what this club can offer going forward.’

Attention now turns to the club’s younger swimmers up to 14 years old, who will compete in their age groups at the Western Counties Championships in June. 

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